CHICAGO (CBS) — Who doesn’t like to save money? A recently launched federal program gives you a sweet discount on your internet bill if you meet certain requirements.
A Park Ridge man was excited to get approved, then his problems began. So CBS 2 got involved.READ MORE: Judge Rules Prosecutors Can't Show Kyle Rittenhouse Link To Proud Boys At Trial In Kenosha Shootings
Morning Insider Lauren Victory shares the happy ending to his frustrating fight.
Vinnie Sabo’s wife saw the opportunity on the news: save up to $50 a month for broadband service through the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
So far, 2.55 million people have jumped at the chance for the credit.
“You know, anything helps. You know, I’ve got kids. One of them going to college pretty soon,” said Sabo, who was excited when his EBB was approved.
Then his problems began. He said his cable was suddenly canceled.
“Hours on the phone, and a few days later a technician had to come to the house, and they got it reinstated,” said Sabo, who noticed another issue. “What I found out was that if you apply the EBB, you no longer get [cable company] discounts.”
His May bill from service provider WOW! shows the $50 deduction, but his auto-pay discount seen on his April bill was wiped out. Also gone: savings from a home WiFi package, and money off from an internet and cable bundle. Turns out, his $50 credit only saved him $15.
“I was thinking this is not a promotion they’re offering, this is something the government is doing to help people,” said Sabo, who said he filed a complaint to the FCC.
CBS 2 asked WOW! about Sabo’s bill and the company confirmed at least two discounts were dropped in error.READ MORE: Wisconsin Military Academy Refunds Donation Made By Senior With Dementia
“All I can say is be persistent. It pays off. I do this all the time. I don’t let it go,” said Sabo.
A WOW! spokesperson added, “This also brought to light a glitch in our EBB process that we will correct for all impacted WOW! customers.”
“Wow, that’s great,” Sabo said. “I’m very happy about that.”
We should note that WOW! didn’t do anything wrong in the eyes of the FCC.
The FCC told CBS 2 that companies administering the Emergency Broadband Benefit are free to handle the credit on bills however they’d like.
“We encourage participating providers to make EBB Program support available for all its service offerings for eligible households. However, because this is a voluntary program for providers, they have flexibility in the types of internet offerings they can make available to eligible households, as well as the terms of those offerings,” a spokesperson for the FCC said in an email.
She also clarified an important point: the discount is for broadband service only, not video.
“For example, if the total monthly cost for a bundle that includes internet and video services is $60 and $20 is for video services, they can only claim/apply $40 as the EBB discount,” the spokesperson said.
EBB recipients are encouraged to file complaints or offer feedback at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov
Here is the full statement from a WOW! spokesperson:MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Illinois: Statewide Coronavirus Cases Drop For Second Consecutive Week
Thank you so much for the opportunity to review Mr. Sabo’s bill. In doing so we found two discounts that were removed from his account in error. We will reapply them so they are reflected on his next bill. This also brought to light a glitch in our EBB process that we will correct for all impacted WOW! customers. WOW! is committed to providing its customers with the best service, especially when it comes to programs such as EBB. We have taken the opportunity to update our Care Agent training to help ensure more clarity around the EBB program so this issue doesn’t arise again in the future. – WOW! spokesperson